Forward planning

Sport and the NPPF

The Government's National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is clear about the role that sport plays in delivering sustainable communities through promoting health and well-being. We, working with the provisions of the NPPF, wish to see local planning policy protect, enhance and provide for sports facilities based on robust and up-to-date assessments of need, as well as helping to realise the wider benefits that participation in sport can bring.

Delivering sound policies

Sound policy can only be developed in the context of objectively assessed needs, in turn used to inform the development of a strategy for sport and recreation. Policies which protect, enhance and provide for sports facilities should reflect this work, and be the basis for consistent application through development management.

We are not prescriptive on the precise form and wording of policies, but advise that a stronger plan will result from attention to taking a clearly justified and positive approach to planning for sport. In this way, planning authorities will be able to demonstrate that their plan has been positively prepared (based on objectively assessed needs), is consistent with national policy (reflecting the NPPF), is justified (having considered alternatives), and effective (being deliverable). Without such attention there is a risk that a local plan or other policy document could be considered unsound.

For more details on forward planning please see the accompanying guide.